ACIT News – Hilary Term 15 – Week 0 # Innovation #WebLearn #TWSIA

1. IT Innovation Seed Fund

2. Digital Media User Group

3. WebLearn Transferred to New Resilient Hardware

4. WebLearn and Turnitin Courses

5. Calling All WebLearn Users: 2015 Teaching with Sakai Innovation Awards now Open


1. IT Innovation Seed Fund

Do you have a great idea for a digital project which would benefit staff or students at Oxford?

The IT Innovation Seed Fund has just been launched. Its aim is to fund small innovative IT projects that address key challenges for the University. It’s hoped that these small start-up digital projects will subsequently become full services or work with Isis Innovation on spin-out opportunities.

The fund is open to all University of Oxford staff and students. Each term (or once a year for students) a challenge will be set to encourage people to focus their thoughts and submit ideas for discussion and development via an open collaboration platform called Oxford Ideas. There will also be an open challenge where you can submit any idea you feel could bring benefit to the University.

The challenges for University staff for Hilary Term 2015 and the annual Student IT Innovation programme are both now live. For this round we welcome project ideas from any University staff member for digital initiatives that would improve the academic experience at Oxford. If you and your colleagues have a great idea, then send it in!

For more information, visit the IT Innovation Fund page on the IT Services website at or email

2. Digital Media User Group

Friday 23rd January, 2- 4pm
IT Services, Banbury Rd
Booking at:

Stuart Lee, Deputy CIO IT Services: Oxford Ideas and the capital plan
Stephen Eyre: A round up of new teaching supporting digital media at Oxford

The University Strategy seeks to increase innovation across our key activities (learning, teaching, and research). As you’ll have read in the previous item, Oxford Ideas is the new open innovation platform for the University of Oxford in which ideas are solicited in response to specific challenges. The initiative is part of the University’s IT Capital Fund, and at today’s meeting Stuart will talk about the plan for the fund and present Oxford Ideas to the audience.

In addition to Stuart’s talk, Stephen will outline how teaching has changed recently to widen our reach in providing digital media skills to the University using open source software which is available to all.

3. WebLearn Transferred to New Resilient Hardware

On 10th January, WebLearn was moved to brand new hardware which is distributed across two physical locations. This was a major undertaking and is the culmination of a number of months of work by the WebLearn team and the Infrastructure and Hosting teams in IT Services.

WebLearn is now located in both Banbury Road and the University Shared Data Centre. Ultimately, it will have duplicated database and search servers, plus four worker nodes each running two virtual machines. The worker nodes are located behind a Citrix NetScaler Application Delivery Controller, which ensures an even distribution of load across all workers. There are actually two of these machines in case the primary machine fails. For added security, the WebLearn file store is also duplicated over two sites.

This new infrastructure will be more resilient than its predecessor on account of the hardware duplication, co-location and move to a higher number of (virtual) workers each supporting a smaller number of users. Another benefit which is sure to please all users is that software response times are now noticeably quicker!

4. WebLearn and Plagiarism Awareness Courses Hilary Term 2015

A variety of taught courses are offered by IT Services to support the use of WebLearn and the plagiarism detection software Turnitin. Places are limited and bookings are required. Bookings open 30 days in advance, but you can express an interest in a course and receive a reminder to book when booking opens.
For further information and to book a place, click the links below.
If you’re interested in one of the formal (3-hour) courses but are unable to attend it, you can download the course book for self-study from the ITLP Portfolio at

4.1 WebLearn courses (3 hours each):

WebLearn: Fundamentals  (once per month)
Wednesday 28Jan    9.15-12.15    Week 2
or    Friday 20 Feb    9.15-12.15    Week 5
or    Monday 2 March    2-5 pm    Week 7

New! WebLearn: Further tools and features
Wednesday 4 Feb    2-5 pm    Week3
or    Thursday 12 March    2-5 pm    Week 8

WebLearn: Surveys
Tuesday24 Feb    2-5    Week 6

WebLearn: Design and content (Intermediate)
Thursday 5 March     9.15-12.15    Week 7

4.2 Plagiarism awareness courses (Turnitin):

Plagiarism: WebLearn and Turnitin
Tuesday 27 January    12:30 – 13:30    Week 2

Plagiarism: Interpreting Originality Reports using Turnitin
Tuesday 10 February    12:30 – 13:30    Week 4

Plagiarism: Turnitin Fundamentals
Thursday 29 Jan    9.15-12.15    Week 2

Plagiarism: Awareness and avoidance (for students)
Wednesday 18 Feb    4-5 pm    Week 5

4.3 Byte-sized lunch time sessions (12:30-13:30):

These focus on particular tools with plenty of time for questions and discussion

WebLearn Bytes: Site Management and Resources
Mon 26 Jan    12:30 – 13:30    Week 2

WebLearn Bytes: Surveys
Mon 2 Feb    12:30 – 13:30    Week 3

New! WebLearn Bytes: Lessons tool
Mon 9 Feb    12:30 – 13:30    Week 4

New! WebLearn: Overview for Local WebLearn Coordinators
Mon 23 Feb    12:30 – 13:30    Week 6

4.4 User Group meetings:

WebLearn User Group
Wed 25 March     2:00 – 4:00 + cream tea    Week 10

Turnitin User Group
Fri 27 March 2:00 – 4:00 + refreshments    Week 10

5. Calling All WebLearn Users: 2015 Teaching with Sakai Innovation Awards now Open

Have you been using WebLearn in an innovative way to support teaching and student learning?

Sakai is the software which powers WebLearn. The Sakai International Teaching and Learning community is seeking submissions for the 2015 Teaching With Sakai Innovation Awards (TWSIA). The award recognises innovation and excellence in technology-supported teaching, academic collaboration, and student engagement.

The categories relevant to Oxford include:

  • Higher Education: Face-to-Face
  • Higher Education: Fully Online or Hybrid Course

Entries must be submitted by 20th March. For further information, visitMore

If you are interested in entering the competition, you are welcome to contact the WebLearn team for advice and guidance. Winners of the WebLearn categories in last year’s OxTALENT awards are encouraged to consider submitting an entry to TWSIA too.

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